A Writer's Playground

Monthly Activities for Kids by Linda Martin Andersen

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Posts Tagged ‘Amphibian Awareness Day’

Our Zookeeper Friend Returns

Posted by lindamartinandersen on April 25, 2014


“Our Zookeeper Friend Returns” by Linda Martin Andersen

A Writer's Playground Fotosearch_u17996074 “A Writer’s Playground”–A place to find wordplay, writing, and monthly calendar activities for kids and those young at heart.

April 26, 2014 is Amphibian Awareness Day at the North Carolina Zoological Park in Asheboro–

an annual event held in conjunction with

Save the Frogs Day

that occurs around the world.  Visit here to learn more:  http://www.savethefrogs.com/

Melissa Barr, the zookeeper pictured below, is here to tell us about Amphibian Awareness Day. She works with the alligators, cougars, waterfowl, as well as a variety of other reptiles and amphibians in the Cypress Swamp section of the North Carolina Zoological Park in Asheboro.  Anyone with this kind of courage deserves our attention and respect! 

You’ll also want to meet Melissa’s friend, the special frog mascot of the day. 

Zookeeper, Melissa Barr, with the Frog Mascot

Zookeeper, Melissa Barr, with the Frog Mascot

 

Amphibian Awareness Activities and presentations are scheduled from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. and are free of charge.  Cypress Swamp will host the trivia wheel game.  Kid Zone will include activities such as face painting and crafts. 

Zookeeper, Lane Bactot, with Spin the Wheel Amphibian Trivia Game.

Zookeeper, Lane Batot, with Spin the Wheel Amphibian Trivia Game.

 

 

Poison Dart Frog Exhibit

Poison Dart Frog Exhibit

What are amphibians? Amphibians consist of  frogs, toads,  newts, salamanders, and caecilians.  Most people are familiar with frogs and toads as they are the “hoppers.”  Salamanders are amphibians that have four legs, a long and slender body and a long tail.  On a side note, North Carolina has more salamander species than any other state due to the diverse geography from mountains to coastal swamps.  Caecilians are a rarely seen amphibian that lacks limbs. 

Why Amphibians? 

Amphibian populations around the world are declining at an alarming rate. Almost 1/3 of all amphibians are in decline.  If something is affecting these animals, we should be concerned as well.  They are an indicator species as they have permeable skin that is sensitive to environmental hazards.  And of course, frogs are just awesome and we don’t want to lose such beautiful animals! 

What is cause of decline in amphibians?

Pollution, infectious diseases, habitat loss, invasive species, climate change, and over-harvesting for the pet and food trades.
What can people do to help? 

A lot of the things that people can do to help amphibians also help other animals as well.  When possible, try to recycle or buy items that are made of recycled materials.  Use less water when taking a shower or turn off the water when brushing your teeth.  Keep pollution out of all waterways, including using pesticides and herbicides responsibly is used at all.  Don’t remove amphibians from the wild, but observe and enjoy them when you see them.  Learn as much as possible about amphibians and educate others!

How do amphibians benefit humans?

They eat lots of insects!  They are part of the food chain.  Tadpoles keep waterways clean by feeding on algae.  Frogs are an important food source for many animals.  Frogs are studied for use in medicinal research that benefits humans.

To read earlier posts by Melissa Barr, check these sites: 

https://lindamartinandersen.wordpress.com/2013/07/22/the-return-of-melissa-barr-a-zookeeper-at-north-carolina-zoological-park/

https://lindamartinandersen.wordpress.com/2012/07/14/meet-melissa-barr-a-zookeeper-at-north-carolina-zoological-park/

To learn more about the North Carolina Zoological Park, check here: 

nczoo.org (NC Zoo website)

nczoo.com (NC Zoo Society website)

Let’s thank Melissa Barr for sharing her zookeeping experiences with us. Melissa, please tell all the animals in your area “Hello” from us.

Readers, please leave a question or a comment.  I encourage you to visit a zoo in your area.  And be sure to visit “A Writer’s Playground” again soon.  Bring a friend. Copyright © 2013 Linda Martin Andersen

Children 13 years old or older may leave a comment–Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act. (COPPA)  See:  http://www.coppa.org/coppa.htm

Copyright © 2014 Linda Martin Andersen

Posted in Careers, Character Traits, Games, Interviews, Math, Monthly Activities, Reading, Science, Social Studies, Uncategorized, Writing | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments »

The Return of Melissa Barr, a Zookeeper at North Carolina Zoological Park

Posted by lindamartinandersen on July 22, 2013


“The Return of Melissa Barr, a Zookeeper at North Carolina Zoological Park” posted by Linda Martin Andersen

“A Writer’s Playground”–A place to find wordplay, writing, and monthly calendar activities for kids and those young at heart.

July 21-27 is National Zookeepers Week.  To celebrate, Melissa Barr, a zookeeper at North Carolina Zoological Park in Asheboro, NC, agreed to return for another visit.  If you’d like to look back at Melissa’s post from July 2012, check here:

https://lindamartinandersen.wordpress.com/2012/07/14/meet-melissa-barr-a-zookeeper-at-north-carolina-zoological-park/

To learn more about the North Carolina Zoological Park, check here: 

nczoo.org (NC Zoo website)

nczoo.com (NC Zoo Society website)

Readers, have you been practicing your best animal cry?  If so, give Melissa a “zookeeper welcome.”  I wonder how Melissa would score your cry.

Melissa, what message do you have to share about what’s new for you at the zoo?

Hi, my name is Melissa Barr and I am a zookeeper at the North Carolina Zoological Park.  I work at the Cypress Swamp section with the alligators, cougars, waterfowl, as well as a variety of other reptiles and amphibians.

Keeper Barr feeding male gator, NC Zoo photo by Melissa Barr

Please Keep Your Chants Appropriate and Respectful of Zookeepers: 

Zookeepers are trained to practice safety when feeding animals.  Certainly we try our best.  Often pictures or video of our feedings make it look like we are closer to the animals than we are.  While feeding the alligators, visitors frequently call out chants.  Many cry out that they hope we get bitten! Even one of my son’s classmates made this chant during a field trip.  Please keep your chants appropriate and respectful of zookeepers.  Hey, we like our hands too!

An amphibian alert: 

107_0127                        107_0116 (2)

Decline of Amphibians:  Nearly one third of frogs are in danger of becoming extinct.

One of the animals I love to work with are the frogs.  We are trying to raise awareness of the decline of amphibians.  Most people don’t realize that nearly one third of frogs are in danger of becoming extinct.

Amphibians are important environmental indicators, meaning they are sensitive to environmental problems, and if something is affecting their populations, then likely something is wrong in the environment.  Amphibian populations are faced with many environmental problems, including pollution, infectious diseases, habitat loss, invasive species, climate change, and over-harvesting for the pet and food trades.

Another role of amphibians is their part in the food web.  They eat mosquitos and other pests and  in turn provide food for other animals.

They have potential in medicinal research that could provide new medicines to help people.

Finally, amphibians have a countless number of diverse and interesting species. 

One thing in particular I would like to point out is that frog dissections are unnecessary in schools.  It depletes wild frog populations and could spread disease among amphibians.   A program is available for a virtual frog dissection.

Some of the things that you can do to help amphibians (and other animals too!) is to recycle, turn off the water when you brush your teeth, use less electricity, keep pollution out of all waterways, don’t take amphibians from the wild, be responsible if using herbicides or pesticides, and simply help spread the word about the importance of amphibians!  The zoo holds Amphibian Awareness Day every year at the same time as Save the Frogs Day.  The 6th Annual Save The Frogs Day will be Saturday, April 26th, 2014.  Please visit http://www.savethefrogs.com/ for more info on frogs!

We have a really cool new frog species at the Cypress Swamp.  Now, this frog isn’t a swamp species, but a part of a special exhibit that highlights the worldwide decline of amphibians and features species from around the world.  Our new addition to the exhibit is the golden poison dart frog.  It is found in the Pacific coast of Colombia.  These wild frogs are lethally toxic, perhaps the most poisonous of any animal! Most dart frogs get their toxicity from the ants they eat in the wild.  However, the golden dart frog even has some toxicity in captivity. What do you think causes their toxicity?  Stop by and see these bold, brightly colored frogs on your next visit to the zoo!

The best thing that visitors can do to show appreciation of the animals is to really show them respect.  What a wonderful opportunity it is  to see animals up close that you rarely would get to see otherwise.  Zoo animals may not be active at times, but it is never a good idea to throw things, spit, or bang on the glass.  Learn as much as possible about animals, because if you understand them and are aware of their problems, you are more likely to help them.  Learn how you can get involved in conservation or at least be aware of the impact that your actions may have on wildlife.

Melissa Barr says, “One of my favorite quotes is:  We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.  ~Native American Proverb”

Once again, let’s thank Melissa Barr for sharing her zookeeping experiences with us. Melissa, please tell all the animals in your area “Hello” from us.

*Applause!*

Readers, please leave a question or a comment.  I encourage you to visit a zoo in your area this week or when you can.  And be sure to visit “A Writer’s Playground” again soon.  Bring a friend.

Copyright © 2013 Linda Martin Andersen

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments »

 
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